Series of new projects underway in southern France

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A number of projects are under development in the windy Bouches-du-Rhône department on France's Mediterranean coast. Most advanced is the 21.25 MW Port-St-Louis-du-Rhône development beside Marseille port, which comes online this month. The project, which consists of 25 Vestas 850 kW turbines, is divided into three power stations to comply with the 12 MW limit for guaranteed premium purchase prices under France's existing wind law. It was developed by owner-operator Mistral Energie, a group of local private investors. The company hopes to apply for siting permission for a further 12 turbines for 2006. Also at Marseille port, La Compagnie Nationale du Rhône (CNR), part of the Suez group, is about to start building a 10 MW plant in the Fos-sur-Mer industrial zone. Completion is scheduled for late 2005. CNR is also one of four successful candidates following a call for tender for another 126 MW of wind power launched by the port authorities in 2004. CNR has been awarded up to 30 MW, EDF Energies Nouvelles 24 MW, La Compagnie du Vent 14.1 MW and Française d'Eoliennes 6.8 MW. The projects now have to obtain siting permission and go through the usual administrative procedures. All being well, construction will begin in 2006 for completion in 2007.

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